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Karbi Anglong Peace Accord signed between Centre, Assam Government & 5 insurgent groups

Karbi Anglong Peace Accord signed between Centre, Assam Government & 5 insurgent groups

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  • GS 3 || Security || Internal Security Threats || NE Insurgency

Why in the news?

Centre signs historic Karbi Anglong agreement

Present Context:

The historic Karbi Anglong Accord signed today is a tripartite agreement between the government of India, the Assam government and six factions of the Karbi.

  • According to the accord, the armed groups shall shun the path of violence, surrender their weapons and disband their organisations within one month of the signing of the agreement.
  • All camps occupied by these groups shall be vacated right after.
  • As per official records, thousand militants would return to the mainstream and lay down more than 300 sophisticated arms they possess.

Salient Features of the agreement:

  • The Government of Assam will consider favourably the proposal of Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) to notify Karbi as the official language of KAAC.
  • However, English, Hindi and Assamese will continue to be used for official purposes.
  • The Government of India may allocate Rs 500 crore (Rs 100 crore a year) for the development of the KAAC.
  • In addition, the government of Assam will also allocate Rs 500 crore for the development projects to be taken up as part of a special package.
  • Army, paramilitary forces and police shall organise a special drive for the recruitment of the Karbi youth.
  • Cases filed against the armed groups which are non- heinous in nature shall be withdrawn by the Assam government in accordance with the law and as far as heinous cases are concerned a call will be taken on a case-to-case basis.
  • The Assam government will provide financial compensation of Rs 5 lakh to each of the next of kin of persons who lost their lives in agitations related to autonomous State demand and have not yet been compensated in any manner.
  • The cadre of the armed forces would be encouraged to take part in various employment generation activities of the government and other government benefits.
  • An institutional mechanism will be set up to coordinate between the government of Assam and KAAC on a periodical basis to resolve issues of mutual concern including the pending legislature, financial transactions and flow of revenue et cetera.

What is insurgency?

An insurrection is an armed revolt against a legitimate government, although those involved in the revolt are not regarded as belligerents. In the case of the Indian example, it can be interpreted as armed revolt and violent protests against the Indian Government or authority.

Karbi Insurgency:

  • Insurgency by Karbi, a major ethnic community of Assam groups, dotted by several factions and splinters, has had a long history in Assam, marked by killings, ethnic violence, abductions and taxation since the late 1980s.
  • These outfits originated from a core demand of forming a separate state.
  • The Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) is an autonomous district council, protected under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

Assam:

  • The situation in Assam began in 1979, when the indigenous people of Assam requested that illegal immigrants from Bangladesh be discovered and removed. All Assam Students Union’s nonviolent effort began with satyagraha, boycotts, picketing, and seeking arrest.
  • The movement’s leaders rejected the 1983 election. There was widespread violence as a result of the election. On August 15, 1985, the movement came to an end after a deal with the central government.
  • Anyone who entered the state illegally between January 1966 and March 1971 was permitted to stay but was disenfranchised for ten years under the terms of the agreement, while anyone who arrived after 1971 faced deportation.

Insurgency in Assam:

  • Due to the fear of cultural and geographical imperialism and dominance, as well as growing levels of economic and political rivalry, many rebel groups and organizations have formed and are active in Assam.
  • As a result, there has been a lot of violence in the state between ethnic groups. These reasons are also partly to blame for the emergence of various rebel groups in the state. On the basis of racial, religious, and cultural divisions, insurgent organizations began to emerge throughout the state.
  • The ULFA and Bodo organizations’ violent cultures have created a precedent for a number of imitation insurgent groups in the Northeast region. As many as 34 insurgent groups have been operating in the state.
  • The biggest insurgent organizations are the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS), Dima Halim Daoga (DHD), Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA), and Muslim United Liberation Front of Assam (MLUFA). The ULFA is mostly active in upper Assam, whilst the NDFB is active in the Bodo-areas of the North and North West Brahmaputra rivers.

Bodoland:

  • In the mid-1980s, the Bodos, Assam’s biggest plains tribe, began an armed campaign for independence. This violent conflict resulted in ethnic cleansing of non-bodos along the Brahmaputra’s north bank.
  • Under the leadership of Upendranath Brahma of the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), the Bodoland Movement for an independent state of Bodoland began on March 2, 1987.
  • The Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC):
  1. BTC has legislative, administrative, executive and financial powers over 40 policy areas in the Bodoland Territorial Areas Districts comprising four districts (Kokrajhar, Baksa, Chirang and Udalguri) of Assam.
  2. It was established in 2003 following a peace agreement between the Government of India and Bodo rebels and has been functioning since 2003 under the provision of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India.

Ideologies of ULFA:

  • The ULFA’s ideology is based on the Treaty of Yandaboo, which ended the First Anglo-Burmese War in 1826 and brought peace to the region.
  • The East India Company and the King of Ava signed a treaty (Ava was the capital of Burma from 1364-1841). Assam, Manipur, Arakan, and Taninthai were all surrendered to the British under this treaty. In the Chachar Kingdom and the Jaintia Hills, the Burmese had to stop interfering.
  • The Burmese agreed to pay the British a one million pound sterling indemnity. The Burmese agreed to allow British diplomatic personnel to visit. Burmese officials also agreed to sign a business pact with the United States in the near future.
  • The first of the five requirements was crucial, since it led to Assam’s annexation into British East India Company territory.
  • ULFA, on the other hand, does not consider itself a separatist group because it believes Assam was never a part of India. According to the document, Assam was always an autonomous kingdom that fought off Mughal assaults 17 times.
  • Despite the fact that Assam became a British colony following the Treaty of Yandabu, the people of Assam started an anti-British movement, which ultimately merged with the Indian liberation struggle.

Consequences of Violence:

  • National projects such as the railway extension were either delayed or pushed late after insurgents targeted the construction sites and kidnapped workers.
  • Significant casualties have been reported from the northeast, including both civilians and security forces, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Military intervention has also slowed the prospect of connecting the northeastern economy with neighbouring Southeast Asian nations.
  • Militants in the oil-rich Assam have regularly targeted oil and gas pipelines for sabotage, arguing that India is exploiting the state’s natural resources.
  • Militancy has influenced the education sector too. A number of schools have been shut down in states like Tripura’s interior, as teachers avoid the areas because of fear of militant strikes.
  • The extortion of militant groups on the national highways linking the various states with mainland India has boosted the prices of essential goods.
  • Tourism, which should have flourished in the scenic northeast, has suffered a great deal from the region’s instability.

Conclusion:

The ceasefire agreements have led to a reduction in the deaths linked to militancy in their respective states, a road map is needed from GoI towards a situation of a permanent agreement. It will establish a favourable investment climate in the region, and address the region’s socio-economic backwardness.

Mains oriented question:

Critically comment on India’s approach towards dealing with the Naga insurgents in the Northeast. (200 words)